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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1408. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2424.

Deep proteome profiling of Trichoplax adhaerens reveals remarkable features at the origin of metazoan multicellularity.

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Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research and Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Genome sequencing of arguably the simplest known animal, Trichoplax adhaerens, uncovered a rich array of transcription factor and signalling pathway genes. Although the existence of such genes allows speculation about the presence of complex regulatory events, it does not reveal the level of actual protein expression and functionalization through posttranslational modifications. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, we here semi-quantify 6,516 predicted proteins, revealing evidence of horizontal gene transfer and the presence at the protein level of nodes important in animal signalling pathways. Moreover, our data demonstrate a remarkably high activity of tyrosine phosphorylation, in line with the hypothesized burst of tyrosine-regulated signalling at the instance of animal multicellularity. Together, this Trichoplax proteomics data set offers significant new insight into the mechanisms underlying the emergence of metazoan multicellularity and provides a resource for interested researchers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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